Insurance companies are businesses like any other in that their goal is to maximize profits. The less money an insurer has to pay out, the greater their bottom line. Although there are laws in place to prevent insurance providers from acting in bad faith, there are still some tactics within the law an insurance adjuster may try to employ to deny a claim or reduce its value.
Below are a few tactics used by insurance companies to dispute personal injury claims:
1. Trying to Shift Part or All of the Blame to the Claimant
South Carolina follows a modified comparative negligence rule when apportioning liability in a tort case that involves shared fault. If you are found to have been 51 percent liable (or more) for the accident that caused your damages, you would be barred from recovering any compensation from the defendant. If you are found partially at fault but less than 51 percent liable, your financial recovery would be reduced by your own percentage of fault. For instance, if your total damages are $50,000 but you were 10 percent at fault, you would be able to recover up to $45,000.
In other words, if the insurance company is able to prove that you were at least partially responsible for the accident, they might have to pay out less compensation—or none at all. Your personal injury attorney can try to counter the comparative negligence defense by performing an immediate and thorough investigation to compile all available evidence of liability and by applying the relevant statutes and case law to minimize the percentage of fault imposed on you.
2. Coercing the Claimant into Providing Statements That Harm Their Case
It is standard practice for the insurance adjuster to contact the claimant shortly after the accident. If you say something that brings liability, causation, or damages into question, your statements might be used against you to dispute your claim. Some adjusters are trained in asking tricky questions that you may not realize have a legal implication. This is why it is always a good idea to let a seasoned attorney handle all dialogue with the insurance adjuster.
3. Arguing That the Claimant Is Pursuing Damages for a Preexisting Condition
You won’t be able to collect damages that were not caused by the tort. That means the insurance company won’t have to pay for damages caused by a preexisting condition; however, you may be able to recover compensation for damages associated with the aggravation of a preexisting injury or illness.
4. Asserting That the Claimant Has Failed to Mitigate Damages
If you do something that aggravates your injury or prolongs your recovery, the insurance company might contend that you have failed to mitigate the damages. You might face such a dispute if you wait too long to seek medical care or ignore your doctor’s orders.
5. Using Social Media Posts to Dispute the Claim
Your social media content might be used as evidence to dispute your claim if it brings liability, causation, or damages into question. It is best to disable your social media accounts until the resolution of your case.
6. Placing the Claimant Under Surveillance
The insurance company might place you under surveillance to try to catch you returning to work against your doctor’s orders, participating in strenuous activities, or doing something else that has the potential to aggravate your injuries, or that indicates your injuries are not as severe as you are claiming.
7. Disputing the Damages Calculations
The insurer might argue that your attorney’s damages calculations are inaccurate. Evidence to support the damages calculations may include your medical records and financial records; deposition from medical, financial, and vocational experts; your personal injury journal; deposition from loved ones and caregivers; and receipts and invoices for costs related to the accident.
Schedule a Free Consultation with a Personal Injury Lawyer in Spartanburg
At Hodge & Langley Law Firm, we have decades of combined experience negotiating with insurance companies. Our attorneys always perform thorough investigations, and they relish the opportunity to take a case to trial when the insurance carrier refuses to settle. Call 864-585-3873 or submit a Contact Form to set up a free consultation.